Corinne Jameson-Kuehl, RDH.
Prior to working with offices in business solutions and training, I owned a dental staffing company. I heard the woes of dentists and managers who simply felt hopeless that they would find permanent, stable, qualified employees for their practices.
A few of my clients mentioned they used personality profiles as part of the interview process to save time and effort, so I decided to check them out and use them myself. If many large, successful businesses use profile screenings, why couldn't a dental office?
A retired dentist from Florida told me he used a "surefire way" of hiring and kept most of the same team for 30 years by using the "personality shapes assessment." This simple test asks each person to write down the first shape that comes to mind: a circle, square, triangle, or squiggly line. Each shape shows what type of personality you are and facts about you. For example, the square shows you are detail-oriented, logical, and dependable.
There are several companies that offer personality profile tests and analysts for employers to use. The DiSC (dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness) assessment, Myers-Briggs type indicator, Kolbe test, and Culture Index are just a few of the profile tests available. Each has a unique set of questions to assess personality style on various levels. Some studies indicate that a personality test coupled with an intelligence test is the most accurate method, whereas most human resources experts agree the personality test is simply a good tool when looking through the candidate pool.
Implementing a personality test may be an easy solution to finding the characteristics you are seeking. Let's say you would like a fast-paced, experienced dental assistant for your busy practice. Wouldn't you want to know before you wasted interview time if the interested assistants naturally possessed a fast-paced quality? The Culture Index assesses several qualities including the level of natural energy and speed at which the individual likes to work.
A large general private practice in Michigan uses the Kolbe test when interviewing all potential candidates. They then use color-coding on the employee's name tag to remind co-workers how that person prefers communication and information. The doctor told me it changed the atmosphere in the practice so much that the teamwork and growth have been more than he could have imagined.
I use DiSC most commonly with my clients. It is an easy test, and it has a fun feature where it shows the entire team's personalities on a graph. It enhances the communication environment of an office and helps convey both the values of individuals and how they like to work.
Recently, I worked with an office where the administration managers and the hygiene department were at war with the schedule. After completion of the DiSC test, there was an understanding of why the groups communicated and valued the topic the way they did. With much laughter, both groups were able to reach a solution for addressing the hygiene schedule logically.
“If your team turns over regularly or employee disunity is a stressor for you, I encourage you to try a personality profile exercise.”
So, are personality profiles a magic bullet? Our science brains want to know if they are accurate and if it is even legal to request that employees/potential employees complete the test. To be fair, experts in personality profiling differ on the substance of the personality test; however, there are studies out there to support the use of these tests from many standpoints.
If your team turns over regularly or employee disunity is a stressor for you, I encourage you to try a personality profile exercise. Perhaps you will discover that there are individuals in the wrong positions or reveal areas within the practice that need to be addressed.
It is important that this be presented as a tool or an option for the team to take. If someone feels they were eliminated or prevented from being offered a job solely because of a personality profile, it may legally become a discrimination concern.
Regardless of the personality profile you choose, I believe it is not the end all to hiring. It is simply a tool to facilitate better understanding and communication and even to help find the best fit for the position you are looking to fill.
Corinne Jameson-Kuehl, RDH, has been involved in the dental field for more than 20 years as a private practice practitioner, business development manager, and dental staffing company founder and owner. She can be reached through her website, CorinneJamesonKuehl.com.
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